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'No one's clean on this': Potential VP picks have been critical of Trump over the years

They’ve called Donald Trump a “whack job,” “reckless” and “reprehensible” and said they would not get into business with him.

Now, they’re all vying to serve as his running mate.

For some, the criticism was from nearly a decade ago, amid the former president’s first campaign or early in his time in the White House. For others, the remarks came as recently as within the past year. What they all have in common is that, at some point, they took issue with Trump’s character, agenda or campaigning.

But longtime Trump allies said in conversations that those past criticisms may not be disqualifying as the former president — famous for holding on to grievances — weighs just how loyal his potential running mates will be.

“He will look at this more holistically than ever,” one longtime Trump ally said. “Everybody’s a sinner in some form or another. The only question is whether something’s a mortal sin or not.”

Jason Miller, a senior Trump campaign adviser, pointed to the 2020 Democratic primary campaign, when Vice President Kamala Harris sharply criticized President Joe Biden's record on busing and the "very hurtful" comments he made about working with segregationist senators, as evidence there was nothing unordinary about Trump's contenders having previously lodged such anti-Trump criticism themselves.

"It’s important to keep in mind that politics is ultimately politics," Miller said. "Kamala Harris described Joe Biden as a racist who opposed integration of public schools and more or less said that Biden palled around with a former leader of the KKK in Robert Byrd. By comparison, President Trump and any of his prospective VP picks will be much more simpatico."

Three Trump allies familiar with the process described a loyalty test

Read more on nbcnews.com